Friday, April 27, 2018

Not All Transgender People Have Dysphoria – And Here Are 6 Reasons Why That Matters

I've put some thought into this from time to time. We all have our own experience with how we identify. there are definitions and terms and such (I have a glossary of sorts somewhere on this blog), but the reality is, I am trans because I know who I am. Having negative feelings about my male body does not validate this... nor would the absence of those feelings invalidate it.

None of us are the same. The comment on this post below is 100% correct. This all extends to the fact that not all transgender people identify as being transsexual, or the other way around and none of this by extension invalidates anyone.

Anyway, great article! Give it a read:

Not All Transgender People Have Dysphoria – And Here Are 6 Reasons Why That Matters

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

How Get A More Feminine Gait

How Get A More Feminine Gait I have had this post up for a while but for some reason I do not have the opposite article for my trans male friends. Rather then rewrite the entire article I just want to invite them to read this one and apply the information in an appropriate way.

I just read a post on another trans woman's blog that was mostly concerned with this individuals ability to walk like a woman with a butt "wiggle". I remember in the beginning of my transition, I was also concerned with this so I decided to write a post here about this topic and offer my insights and research. Before I get to this however,  I want to start out with a general disclaimer:
Like many of the behaviors we as trans woman would like to assimilate into our own lives, I think we must be both realistic and weary of own motives when deciding how and what to change. Also know that there isn't any one thing that we can do to prove we are a real woman... This includes how we walk. Also note that I am not an expert. This is simply my insight and my opinion on the matter.
With this in mind I will continue...

Now as some people might know, I am all about research. If I do not know something I look it up. This is exactly what I did in this case. Like many trans women, when I started my transition I wanted to find ways to appear more feminine and one of these things I figured I could easily fix was the way I walked.

After my initial attempts in emulating what I thought to be a more feminine gait, I was a bit disappointed and found that my efforts came off as contrived. Furthermore I realized that these attempts only perpetuated an image that I definitely wanted to avoid, that I was a gay man. This initial disappointment lead me to research a few things to see if I could get it right. First I wanted to know if it was even possible and second, how to do it. I spend a great deal of time watching people at the local Mall and I also examining data I gathered on the skeletal differences between men and women. I found quite a few studies that have been done specifically on the differences in the way men and women walk. All of this observation and research gave me a few answers and highlighted exactly what I was doing wrong and what I could do to change it. Now I would like to share this with you.

High Heels

I love high heels... I dear say I have a small problem in this department, but still be aware that there isn't to much more ridiculous than watching someone walk in super high heels when they do not really know how to. It is also a good way to turn your ankle! So while strutting your stuff looks hot and a nice pair of heels can certainly make your legs look wonderful, this is not a short cut to walking like a woman! I have a post with some tips on walking in heels if you do want to learn.

Physiological Aspects of the Female Gait

The first thing to realize is that there is a huge skeletal difference between men and women then the size, shape, and positioning of the pelvis. The main one we are concerned with here however is which of these differences results in the typical female hip sway. This may get a bit technical...

For this we must look at how the head of the femur (thigh bone) sits and moves in relation to the position of the socket on the hip called the acetabula. For a detailed explanation I will simply quote a section of a book I found called "Mind — Primary Cause of Human Evolution":

"[W]hen walking the more lateral position of the hip joint in the male means that the leg can move forwards and backwards in one plane. On the other hand, the more anterior angled position of the hip socket in the female means that the leg must swing forward and inward, then as it moves back the femoral head must pivot slightly so that the leg can swing back in another plane."

While the action may be a bit complex the important thing to know is that the pivoting of the femur in the hip socket which is unique to females is what accounts for the typical female hip sway. So while some woman certainly do enhance their "wiggle", what they are doing is exaggerating an already natural movement. Knowing this and the fact that neither hormones nor surgery can alter skeletal changes set at puberty it becomes clear that while you can change the way you walk, you cannot change the way your hips interact with your legs.

Also realize that not all women are not the same. There is a wide variety of natural variation in women's hip sizes and the amount they sway their hips to being with. Taking all of this into account I concluded that the ability to replicate a feminine hip "wiggle" is limited for male bodied transsexuals and may be unnecessary. I say unnecessary because not only are there cissexual women who do not sway their hips, but also simulating the hip movement is not the only way to produce a more feminine gait.

Men and Women Have Different Natural Postures So Naturally They Walk Differently

Now that I have explained why faking a hip sway looks fake, I would like to share below a bit about what does work (or has worked for me). After the realization that the negative consequences of over doing it far outweighed the potential benefits, I decided to go back to the drawing board and research some more about gender differences in the way we walk. This is when I stumbled onto a bit of information about the differences in our postures.

I have to say that the best way to understand the concepts I am about to talk about is through simply watching others... I really do suggest you go out and people watch. Sit at the mall or walk around a grocery store and compare how men and women walk. Also watch how men and women sit, you'd be surprised what you can learn from that as well.

Less Hips, More Shoulders

What I learned, was that typically men walk with their shoulders forward in an almost hunched posture. This cause their elbows to pivot outward and gives them the appearance they are more aggressive (which may be evolutionary). Conversely, most women walk more upright with their shoulders back and elbows inward. This posture gives a softer more relaxed look. Adapting this later posture was for me far more achievable and posed less risk of looking fake. Once I was able to do this comfortably I found that it also enhanced other feminine actions that I already did naturally, one of these things was ironically a slight hip sway!

Just a note, the above is not only something I have found myself but also it has been backed up as solid advice by at least on person I know who works in the field.

For a really good look at the differences in posture and how it relates to how men and women walk check out this link:

http://www.biomotionlab.ca/Demos/BMLwalker.html


Resources


Merry, Clare V. (2005). "Pelvic Shape". Mind — Primary Cause of Human Evolution. Trafford Publishing.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Help Find Clothes That Fit (MTF and FTM)

As a trans person it can become very frustrating when trying to find clothing that both fit and look flattering on your body. I want to point out right at the beginning of this article that you should be comfortable in what you choose to wear. There is no need to feel that you must look or dress a certain way. That being said how you look goes a long way towards how others see you (and treat you). While I have tried to make this post useful for both trans men and women it was originally written in a way that is geared towards trans women. I also want to point out that I do have articles for trans women on tucking, and for trans men I have an article about breast binding. Both are things that are somewhat classified as necessary evils to "pass" (I still hate that word).

As for the how tos, for me the best thing to do was to do a little bit or research. I found the key is that once you understand your body shape it is pretty easy to find the resources to learn how to look and feel your best! There are a lot of clothes that fit and look good on all kinds of body types and there are all kinds of tips you can use... You just have to know where to start, and that is finding your shape.

The basic body shapes are:


Want some suggestions (MTF)?

I have put together (and will continue to add) some suggested outfit posts... Although this may just be a way for me to share some style related posts :)

Get the suggestions
Hour Glass
People with hour glass figures have a defined waist with their hips and bust being roughly the same size with their waist being well defined. This is a pretty natural feminine shape and is difficult to replicate.

Pear
People with a pear shape will have full hips and thighs with a defined waist. Their shoulders and bust will be smaller than their hips. Woman with pear shaped bodies generally want to pull attention up and away from the hips. Men on the other hand may want to attempt to draw attention up to their shoulders / chest.

Apple
People with apple shaped bodies have an fuller undefined waist with average to average busts. They will typically have a wider back, flatter bum, and smaller arms and legs. For trans women, the object here is to draw attention away from the mid section and towards the bust and / or legs.

Inverted Triangle
People with this shape have broader shoulders than hips. Their will be little difference between waist and hip size. This and apple seems to be the body shape I have noticed most commonly among trans women. The goal here for trans women is to minimize the shoulders / bust while accentuating the hips. For trans men you will want to minimize the breasts as much as possible.

Column
People with this figure have no real definition. This is also called the "Boy Shape" but this is misleading. This does not equate to "man shaped". People with this shape have narrow shoulders, a small bust, a poorly defined waist, and little to no hip definition. The goal here is to give the body some kind of shape.

Advice for finding clothes that fit

As far as basic general advice for trans women I can offer the following:
  • Bootcut pants and jeans are your friend. They look good on everyone.
  • Flared skirts and dresses are great for most shapes where we want to accentuate the hips and create a waist.
  • Women's buttons up shirts fit close to the waist or flare out at the hips.
  • Dark colors help to minimize, lighter colors accentuate. To pull attention down try a light colored skirt with a darker top.
  • Belts might help to create a waist. I don't mean wear one as tight as possible... I mean having one on that fits at or around the belly button might help. Also, if you have an apple body shape belts may be a bad idea, especially wider ones.
  • Tight fitting clothes (especially on top) only accents the masculine form. (Think cute guy in a tight t-shirt).  Generally we want structure without the material being to clingy.
For trans men:
  • Slim - straight cut and flat fronted pants will help minimize the appearance of your hips. Avoid super tight (and super loose) pants as they can accentuate curves.
  • Well fitted (but not super tight) structured button up shirts are your friend. Note that mens shirts do not fit close to the waist or flare out at the hips.
  • Non symmetrical patterns can help camouflage your chest.
  • Plaid may make you look masculine but not like you are looking for?
  • Vests!
Below are some additional highlights and links to more in depth articles on specific topics we as trans women may run into. I would love suggestions for trans men as well! Feel free to comment below!

Broad Shoulders

This is a particularly common problem with trans women. Luckily there are a number of neck line (particularly V-Necks) and sleeve options to help minimize broad shoulders. Please check out my article on this. Also, dark colors really help... Bright flowery patterns generally do not.

Narrow Hips

This is another problem with many trans women... Like I said above, boot cut pants are great here as the add bulk lower on the leg. Also flared skirts are great. I find what works best for me is a light colored flared skirt with a dark v neck.

Unfortunately pencil skirts are hard to pull off with very narrow hips and wide shoulders but I do have a post with some tips to finding a pencil skirt that does actually fit. The problem usually is the skirt will fit your wasit but be way to big in the hips. One option is to always have your skirt tailored. You should avoid shopping for skirts that fit your hips and force your waist to suck in to much as this will make you look very barrel chested.

Additionally you could also buy some butt padding. This may sound silly but they do work and they are quite popular even among cis women.

Shoes and Boots

Like many women a lot of trans women gravitate towards cute shoes cause well... They are cute. I certainly can relate. I will warn that you should learn to walk in heels if you plan on wearing them... Preferably before you even buy a pair. Also, don't worry to much about your shoe size. If you have larger feet you may need to order your shoes but a lot of cis women are in the same boat.

One other problem I have always had in this area as well is finding boots. Most boot shafts are designed to accommodate wider calfs. Finding boots to fit more narrow calfs can be challenging but it is not impossible. Again, you could if you have the money have a pair made special for you.

More on Dressing Your Body Shapes

Shop Your Shape - To be honest I wouldn't "shop" from this site (mainly I like to try things on) but there are some wonderful tools. Just plug in your measurements and they will not only give you an explanation of your body shape but also what styles of clothing will look most flattering. Once your shape is calculated they give you information and suggestions including what kind of shirt sleeves look best on you, what types of pants look flattering and what style skirts look best!

On a side note: I promise I will learn how to spell!